Austin Bureau Report From 1970

Here's a Jan. 9, 1970, Austin bureau report from Kyle Thompson to Don Reed covering the period ending Jan. 10, 1970:

On Sunday, Dec. 15, 1969, UPI reported exclusively that anti- Yarborough factions in the Democratic party were pressuring former Valley Congressman Lloyd W. Bentsen Jr., to run for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Ralph Yarborough. Again on Friday, Jan. 2, UPI reported exclusively in time for PM's editions that Bentsen would hold a news conference in Austin Jan. 6, probably to announce for the U.S. Senate. Bentsen held a news conference at 9 a.m. Jan. 6 and announced as a candidate and launched his campaign with a blast at Yarborough.

On Monday, Jan. 5, Roland Lindsey staffed the extradition hearing of Charles D. Watson of McKinney, and KT staffed state Board of Education hearing at which the Board ruled in an 8-7 vote that wearing a beard is not grounds to fire a high school math teacher at Kerrville. On the Watson story, we had the night lead in tape ready to go when Gov. Preston Smith issued the extradition order, getting on the wire I'm sure well ahead at a crucial late afternoon time.

On Jan. 6 we got our hands on Lloyd Bentsen's announcement for the U.S. Senate about 15 minutes before his press conference and jumped right on it, moving out a 450-word urgent lead which cleared before Bentsen got through reading his announcement. We took the play in all two-service papers I saw here (3 or 4). Lindsey had a good story on 1/6 about the top 4 state officials launching a joint all-out war on drug abuse. Our Jerry Sadler watcher, Ann Arnold, covered the 1/6 meeting of the Land Board and we had a good report on Sadler's filing for re-election 3 hours after the sheriff's office served him with a summons in a $1.5 million libel suit against Sadler. The sheriff had been looking for Sadler for 90 days. Out of this, AA got an exclusive that the Veterans Land Board will run out of funds before September becuase it can't sell any more bonds at today's high interest rate. Arnold's night lead on Sadler said: "Undaunted by an unprecedented legislative reprimand, a rebuff from investigators and a state court, a challenge from a young Austin lawyer, a double hernia operation and a $1.5 million libel suit, Jerry Sadler Tuesday filied for re-election to a sixth term as land commissioner."

Jan. 8, UPI was exclusive out of Uvalde that State Rep. John Poerner, who announced last year after winning a special legislative election that he is a republican, switched and is running for re-election as a Democrat. This is something of an oddity coming in a time when most party switches in Texas are from Demo to Republican since nearly everybody in the state for generations have been Democrats only. It would be safe to say that less than 1 percent of public office holders in Texas in the 20th century have been Republicans.

Best regards, Kyle Thompson

cc: REC, LAH, TH, FJS, KLY, files